Javier Baez has had a fractured – both literal and figurative – year in the minor leagues. He missed time early after the passing of his sister, and then he missed time in the middle after he broke his left ring finger. With so much to work on already in his swing and approach at the plate, it wouldn’t be a surprise to learn that it’s been tough for the 22-year-old to get into the kind of rhythm that would allow changes and development to take hold.
So, then, it probably shouldn’t be a surprise to hear Cubs GM Jed Hoyer suggest that Baez probably won’t be coming up to the big league team any time soon. You can read Hoyer’s comments here at the Tribune, and, although he didn’t say so explicitly, unless an urgent need arises due to injury, it sounds like Baez might not come up until rosters expand to the full 40-man in September (which is also when the minor league season ends).
Of course, that’s still more than three weeks away, so it’s entirely possible that an urgent need does arise before then. We’ll see.
In the interim, the Cubs might get back Tommy La Stella, and should also get back Miguel Montero (whose presence starts a chain effect of rotations that also lessen the need for another infield bat).
Meanwhile, at Iowa, Baez’s manager says the infielder will continue to work at shortstop, second base, and third base, as he was before his injury (Tommy Birch). So far, since his return to AAA, Baez has started exclusively at shortstop. You never know where the need will arise, though, and, furthermore, being as versatile as possible can only help the Cubs in September. From there, the Cubs have an entire offseason to figure out how they best want to align their various young players heading into the 2016 season.
For now, then, Baez will remain at Iowa, continue working on the things that put him there in the first place when the season opened. He’s still in the Cubs’ organization, still has enormous upside, and still could impact the Cubs in 2015 and beyond.